Where can you find cosplay cuties and heroic hunks in bathing suits and bikinis on the beach this weekend? Traverse City, Michigan at the Northern Michigan Anime Convention! This will be my third year covering NMA and I am looking forward to it as it is a fun but also laid back weekend. Traverse City is a beautiful resort and college town in Northern Michigan and the weather should be beautiful. I tracked down the Con Chairwoman, Kayla Higley for an update on what’s ahead. Check it out and make plans to be in Traverse City this weekend!
John Collins (JC): Hi Kayla! Thanks for agreeing to do an interview with me.
Kayla Higley (KH): No, thank you, it’s a pleasure.
(JC): Before we talk about Northern Michigan Anime convention, tell me a bit about yourself.
(KH): Well, after attending college at Northwestern Michigan College, I have settled down and made Traverse City my home. I started into anime at a young age, I remember being completely enamored with shows like “My Neighbor Totoro“, “Tenchi Muyo“, and “Magic Knight Rayearth“.
As for the convention, the first year of NMACon, I was actually not on staff and was a artist in artist alley. It was not until year two did I start helping with the planning process, and now I am Chairwoman.
Definately goes to show you, if you have a passion for it, do not be afraid to get involved, it might suprise you what you can accomplish.
(JC): I have been at NMA for the past two years and enjoyed myself immensely each time, but why here?
(KH): I am glad you enjoy it, we definitely put our all into making it fun for everyone. How this convention started was a drive to bring a show to the area for those who could otherwise not get to a larger convention downstate.
(JC): NMA has been held at the Great Wolf Lodge in the past but this year it is moving. Where to and why?
(KH): We unfortunately had some misunderstandings with the Great Wolf we could not work out. But fret not, NMACon will be held this year at the wonderful Park Place Hotel in downtown Traverse City. The venue offers us some great advantages that Great Wolf did not. Including better space layout, (no long ominous dark hallways), better access to restaurants, and a pretty unique dealers room layout.
(JC): Very cool! NMA has had some great events in the past. With the new venue will there still be the fun events you have had? What are the key events folks won’t want to miss this year?
(KH): Always! If you are coming in early on Friday night, then you cannot miss going to the State Theater just a block away. They will be playing Cowboy Bebop as their 11pm Friday Night Flick! Definitely check out one of the autograph sessions with our guest, check out the varied cosplay contests, our selection of anime games shows, and some awesome gaming tournments.
(JC): Who are the special guests this year?
We will also be joined by internet celebrities Mike Dellheim and Jim Hanson who are best known for their online video riffing program Cinematic for the People, as well as both being established webcartoonists, and Mike being the creator of the webcomic based card game, Wagon Webcomic battle.
(JC): Since you won’t be at the Great Wolf Lodge with its water-park, does that mean you won’t be having the Cosplay Swimsuit Contest this year?
(KH): We will be continuing our swimsuit contest this year, we actually have the luxury of only being a block away from the beaches of Grand Traverse Bay, so if the weather is nice, we invite all our swimsuit contestants to do a photo session on the beach.
(JC): In addition to other sites I work for I also write for my own site, The Weird Review and like to end my interviews with what I call my weird question. Do you have anything weird and wonderful about yourself or the con that you would like to share?
(KH): When I moved into my house, we discovered a cold war era fallout shelter built by the previous owners on the property, complete with the paperwork. There was unfortunately nothing cool inside, but hey, how many people can say they own one?
(JC): Your own personal fallout shelter? That’s cool! This weekend sounds like a lot of fun and things are getting bigger and better. Do you have anything you would like to add before we close?
(KH): We are very excited for this year, and hope the fans have fun.
(JC): Thanks again for taking time out of your busy schedule and doing an interview with me. I am looking forward to seeing you again soon!
(KH): Look forward to seeing you there!
More about John Collins
Check out some photos from last year’s Northern Michigan Anime Con!